Time for a Technology Time-Out?
- by: Hank Berkowitz
- January 23, 2017
Lost amid the inauguration coverage, the anti-Trump demonstrations and the NFL conference finals, was the death of a young tech visionary named Levi Felix. Just 32, Felix succumbed to complications from a brain tumor. Felix’s name may not ring a bell, but you are probably familiar with Digital Detox, the organization he co-founded to help people of all ages unplug from the grid and reconnect with each other and the real world.
A self-described geek (“not a Luddite” he’d argue), Felix once lived the tech entrepreneur lifestyle—70 hour workweeks, guzzling Mountain Dew, always-connected, pulling all-nighters at the office and sleeping with a laptop under his pillow. That was until he was hospitalized for an exhaustion-induced esophageal tear and decided to change his life. “I love that technology connects us and is taking our civilization to the next level,” Felix told the New York Times in a 2012 interview, but we have to learn how to use it and not have it use us.”
Houston. We have a problem here. As I’ve mentioned several times in this blog, I take a 24-hour “tech fast” every almost weekend from mid-day Saturday to mid-day Sunday. It’s not that hard, and the world hasn’t come to an end once during my weekly tech purges.
As (human) columnist Alexa O’Brien opined last week about artificial intelligence, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and other on-demand personal digital assistants could be making us dumber as they get smarter. Through big data collection and analytics, these AI assistants “will come to know us in ways we can’t even know ourselves,” wrote O’Brien. “The platform offers endless choices, virtual connections and access to a world of information, but what this major-domo of the ‘internet of things’ may deliver is reductive banter, mindless consumerism and a universe of trivia.
TAGS: Levi Felix, Alexa, Siri, artificial intelligence, Digital Detox, unplugging from technology